Web Hosting – Where Your Site Lives
The next step in the list of things to do after picking a marketing niche and a domain name is deciding on Web hosting. What’s Web hosting? Websites on the Internet don’t exist in space; sites are actually collections of files, and those files need to reside on a hard drive on a computer somewhere. You don’t want them on just any computer, however; you want to have them on a computer that’s connected to the Internet, so that potential customers can visit them.
There’s more to Web hosting than that, though. There are a lot of support programs and security features that need to be installed on such a machine, which is usually known as a Web server. Web servers need to be able to provide Web pages to visitors who want to see them, but they also need to keep out hackers, have a good backup infrastructure so that the sites can stay online 24/7 and come with reliable tech support in the event that something should go wrong.
In the early days of the Internet, Web hosting was fairly expensive and it might have cost as much as $100 per month to keep even a small Website online. Thanks to the development of Linux, a free, open-source operating system and the gradual reduction in the cost of computer hardware, Web hosting has become quite affordable. In fact, you can occasionally find places where you can have your sites hosted for free. We don’t recommend that you go with free Web hosting, as there are usually a lot of strings attached – your site may have to display ads, or you won’t be able to use the domain name of your choice, or the servers may be overloaded with too many Websites, which causes the sites to load slowly in a Web browser. Free might sound nice, but you’ll end up getting what you pay for.
Web Hosting Made Affordable
Fortunately, there are a number of companies that can provide affordable Web hosting, and by “affordable”, we’re talking about less than $10 per month. In fact, for that amount of money, you can usually get an account that will allow you to have more than one Website hosted there. There are too many such companies to list them all, but Hostgator has plans starting at less than $5. GoDaddy.com has Web hosting starting at just $1 per month, and they even offer a site building tool that makes it easy to build a professional looking Website in just a few minutes. For about $4 per month, you can build a site using WordPress, which is a very flexible piece of Website software that is very customizable and easy to use.
You’ll find that Web hosting becomes more affordable if you pay for a year’s worth of hosting up front. I don’t necessarily recommend that, particularly if you’re just starting out. After all, you might get a few months into this and decide that making money online isn’t really for you. In that case, you could simply cancel your account and you’d be done. On the other hand, if you were locked into a 12 month contract, you’d still be paying. It’s really up to you; you can always start out paying on a per-month basis and if you decide that you want to stick with it then you can upgrade to the annual payment plan.
There are less expensive options for Web hosting and you can find a forum such as Web Hosting Talk where people can discuss the pros and cons of particular companies and their Web hosting plans. If you’re new at this, however, it’s probably best to start out with one of the bigger companies that’s best equipped to help newbies and who can offer you better and more responsive tech support. While I’m not currently using GoDaddy for Web hosting, I have done business with them for nearly a decade and I’ve found their tech support to be quite good.
The beauty of the GoDaddy Website Builder is that they have hundreds of “themes” to choose from, so you can make your site look unique. They make it easy to build sites, and you don’t need to have any technical experience. You can also integrate your Website with your Twitter or Facebook accounts, which can be a big help if you’re into social networking (a great place to find Website visitors, by the way.)
Once you pick a Web hosting plan, you will need to change the DNS settings for your domain name. DNS, or Domain Name System, is a series of computers on the Internet that keep track of the relationship between IP addresses and domain names. These are the computers that know that when you want to go to Amazon.com, you really want to connect to a computer with the IP address 22.214.171.124. When you buy a domain name and you buy a hosting account, you need to tell your domain name registrar the name of the computer that’s going to be responsible for knowing where your Website is going to reside. While this sounds overly technical, it really isn’t very difficult. Your Web hosting company will give you the names of the DNS servers you need to use and then you will have to log in at the site of the registrar where you registered your domain name and enter the names of those DNS computers there. Both your Web hosting company and your registrar should be able to help you with this, and it shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes to do. Once you do this, people who type your domain name into their Web browser will automatically be redirected to your Web hosting company’s servers and your Website, once set up, will load.
While all of this information about Web hosting may seem overly complex, it has gotten a lot easier to do over the years, and most of the larger Web hosting companies can provide a lot of help with setting up a new Website. There are usually forums and FAQ lists and troubleshooting tips available, and companies such as GoDaddy have phone support, too.
If you’d like to simplify your Web hosting, and even get it for free, why not join Wealthy Affiliate? This comprehensive training program will show you how to build effective moneymaking Websites, and you can join Wealthy Affiliate for free.
Once you get your Web hosting set up, you just need to find something to sell using affiliate marketing and you’ll be that much closer to being able to work online from home.